Hamilton targeted by racists

Lewis Hamilton's bid to become Formula One champion has been soured by a Spanish website targeting the McLaren driver with vitriol and racist abuse.

The website, called Pincha la Rueda de Hamilton (Burst Hamilton's Tyre) invites visitors to place a virtual nail on the track at Interlagos, the setting for Sunday's title showdown with Felipe Massa in the Brazil Grand Prix.

The site carries a message board directing abuse at the 23-year-old Briton, who only needs to finish in the top five to claim the 2008 title.

The sport's governing body the FIA and McLaren jointly condemned those who had posted the comments.

An FIA spokesman said: “The FIA's position is very clear — discrimination and prejudice can have no place in sport or in society.

“Everyone in our sport will join us in condemning these abusive and hateful comments.”

In February Hamilton was subjected to racial abuse during testing in Barcelona, where a minority of Spanish fans turned up with their faces blackened.

That triggered the FIA's ‘EveryRace’ campaign aimed at driving out racial abuse from motor racing.

Commenting on this latest incident a spokesman for Hamilton's team said: “McLaren was one of the earliest supporters of the FIA's 'EveryRace’ campaign, and we support that campaign still.

“We've seen the statement from an FIA spokesman, and we can only echo it.”

The offending website, which has attracted over 20,000 visitors, was launched last year when Hamilton was battling with his McLaren teammate, Spanish idol Fernando Alonso, for the title.

If Hamilton succeeds in claiming the title on Sunday he will become the youngest world champion in F1 history and the first driver of Afro-Caribbean descent to lift the title. He will also be Britain's ninth champion and first since Damon Hill in 1996.


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